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Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July is a feature-length stop-motion animated film produced by Rankin/Bass. It was filmed in stop-motion animation in the style of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Although designed as a theatrical release (it only appeared in theaters noirs), it made its U.S. premiere on television via the CBS network. As the title suggests, it is a follow-up to Rankin/Bass's earlier Christmas specials featuring the characters Rudolph and Frosty. It is notable for tying in the Mickey Rooney version of Santa Claus (from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and The Year Without a Santa Claus) with Rudolph and featuring stop-motion versions of Frosty and his family, previously seen only in standard animation. Many of these characters would not be seen again until the 2000s.
| Spoiler warning!|
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.
As the movie opens, it is late June at the North Pole, and Rudolph is paying a visit to his good friend Frosty the Snowman. Frosty and Crystal's children, Chilly and Milly, ask Rudolph (whom they look up to as their adoptive uncle) to light up his nose for them, but when he tries to do so, he finds that it seems to be going out. After the opening credits roll, Santa Claus, providing the opening narration, explains to the viewers why this is happening.
A very long time ago, an evil wizard king named Winterbolt had caused havoc upon the people who have entered his domain. He was punished when, Lady Boreal, the Queen of the Northern Lights, took on a human form and placed a spell that put him in a deep sleep. Eventually, years after Santa came to the North Pole (as seen in Santa Claus is Comin' to Town), Winterbolt was awakened from his coma. Upon awakening from his icy prison, he asked his "Genie of the Ice Scepter" (which is really more of a soothsayer) what events took place in his absence, explaining how Santa's magic powers grow out of the love of children around the world. Winterbolt devised a scheme to trap Santa and his reindeer in a massive snowstorm on Christmas Eve, preventing him from delivering that year's toys. However, in her final act of magic before turning into the Aurora Borealis, Boreal transferred the placed her magic into the newborn Rudolph's red nose, telling him that it would stop glowing if it is ever used for evil. After this, the events of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer occurred, and Winterbolt's plans were foiled by Rudolph guiding Santa's sleigh on that foggy Christmas Eve.
Back in the present, Winterbolt, having learned of his plan being foiled, tries to extinguish the magic from Rudolph's nose, but after a pep talk from Frosty, Rudolph manages to survive this and his nose is lit up again. After Winterbolt's "genie" explains that Rudolph's nose is powered by the Aurora Borealis, the evil wizard decides that he will lure Rudolph out of the North Pole and then make him use his nose for evil. As it turns out, an ice cream man named Milton arrives to pick up his annual stockade of ice cream that he sells at the sea shore on the Fourth of July. Milton explains to Rudolph that there is a big problem back home. He explains that he and his girlfriend Laine Loraine had planned to marry, but her mother's Circus by the Sea, is in danger of being shut down by an evil carney named Sam Spangles.
Winterbolt, seeing this in his magic snowglobe, plants an idea into Milton's head - to have Rudolph star in the circus, thus drawing the crowds that the circus needs to survive. Chilly and Milly want to go to the circus too, but Frosty says that, since they are snowmen, they would never survive the Florida heat. Winterbolt appears before them at this point, pretending he wants to help them. He presents Frosty's family with magic amulets that will prevent them from melting, but they will wear off after the last of the Fourth of July fireworks finishes. When Rudolph, Frosty, and Milton explain this to Santa, Winterbolt then gives Santa the idea that he and Mrs. Claus should fly in to the circus on the Fourth of July to pick up Frosty and his family right before the fireworks are finished.
Milton brings Rudolph, Frosty, Crystal, Chilly, and Milly to the circus and introduces them Laine's mother and the circus's owner, Lilly Loraine. Back at the North Pole, Winterbolt recruits the help of an evil reindeer who is everything Rudolph is not - Scratcher, a rejected member of Santa's sleigh team who was fired because he kept stealing toys and eating candy canes. After Winterbolt sends Scratcher out to the Seashore, Santa and Mrs. Claus take off in their sleigh. At this point, Winterbolt has his two Ice Dragons conjure up a terrible hurricane, trapping the couple and forcing them to continue their journey on the ground.
Over in Florida, Rudolph, Frosty, Crystal, Chilly, and Milly are taking part in the circus's parade. Scratcher arrives in the crowd and meets up with Sam Spangles, the man trying to take over the circus, and says he has "an interesting proposition." Later, at the circus, Scratcher comes upon Rudolph, claiming that he has been really down on his luck and would like a job at the circus. After Rudolph's act in the circus's performance that evening, Scratcher cons him into using his nose to help him retrieve a briefcase with the performance's receipts from Lilly's wagon. Scratcher then makes Rudolph give it to a nearby police officer (actually a disguised Spangles), claiming the "cop" is going to deposit it at the bank.
After the circus's performance is finished, Lilly sets off the fireworks, and Frosty is worried that Santa will not arrive before the last firework fades and the amulets wear off. Lilly then finds out that the circus has been robbed, bringing Rudolph to realize that Scratcher tricked him. Winterbolt then shows up in his own sleigh, pulled by "reinsnakes". Rudolph begs Winterbolt to make the amulets' power last longer, but only if Rudolph's nose is still extinguished. Rudolph, finding out that his nose is no longer able to light up because he gave the circus's money to Sam Spangles earlier, says he's going to tell the truth to everyone, but Winterbolt tells him that if he does that, Frosty's family will melt, so Rudolph is forced to take the blame and let his nose go out. His plans succeeding, Winterbolt then heads back to the North Pole, telling Scratcher that now he'll be the number-one reindeer there. Sam Spangles takes over the circus, and everyone is upset that Rudolph apparently gave the money to him.
While Rudolph goes off to wallow in self-pity, Frosty, the only one aware of what really happened, laments that there must be something he can do to help his friend. Winterbolt is told by his "genie" that Frosty does have something Winterbolt would want - his magic hat - and that Winterbolt could find out the secret of the hat's magic, duplicate it, and make a whole army of living snowmen. Meanwhile, Rudolph, who is walking on the beach, hears a voice coming from the Northern Light; it is the voice of Lady Boreal, who tells him that if he can be brave, his nose will be un-extinguished. Just then, Big Ben from Rudolph's Shiny New Year shows up, saying he had an urge to come here. After Rudolph explains his predicament, Big Ben swims off, saying he's going to South America.
Meanwhile, Winterbolt returns and, in order to make Frosty give up his hat, claims that he will restore the Aurora Borealis light to Rudolph's nose. Rudolph shows up just as Winterbolt has taken the hat from Frosty, who is now reduced to his inanimate state. While Frosty's wife and children cry over his motionless form, Rudolph gives chase after the evil wizard, who tries ambushing him with his reinsnakes. But Rudolph manages to stop the reinsnakes and then headbutts Winterbolt, causing him to drop the hat. Rudolph catches the hat and, at that moment, his nose regains its glow. Rudolph flies away with the hat, as Winterbolt swears he will not be defeated.
The next morning, Rudolph shows up back at the circus, accompanied by a real policeman with the stolen money. The officer explains to Lilly that Rudolph was tricked into giving the money to Spangles and then returns the hat to Frosty. After Spangles is arrested (though it is never shown what happens to Scratcher), Winterbolt shows up and prepares to destroy everyone with his Ice Scepter. Fortunately, Lilly throws her guns at the Ice Scepter, which destroys it, and Winterbolt turns into a tree. As a result of Winterbolt being vanquished, the storm that had grounded Santa and Mrs. Claus fades away, allowing the couple to make it to the circus. Unfortunately, Frosty and his family have now melted because the amulets that Winterbolt gave them are worthless now.
Rudolph is devastated about his friends' apparent death, since the only thing that can bring them back is a magic December wind, which cannot happen in July. Just then, Big Ben returns, having brought Frosty's former rival, Jack Frost, all the way from South America. Jack provides the magic Christmas wind needed to revive Frosty and his family, after which Santa and Mrs. Claus finally arrive. As the Clauses get ready to bring the snowmen back to the North Pole, with Jack keeping them cool all the way, Rudolph says that he's going to temporarily stay with the circus until they have gotten out of debt. Santa explains that should not take very long, since he gave Lilly some of his magic corn that makes animals fly (from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town) to give to her animals. The movie ends with Lilly singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" as he leads her new team of flying animals.
- You Are Everything I Always Wanted
- Everyday Is Just Like Christmas
- Don't Let the Parade Pass You By
- I See Rainbows When I Look At You
- Chicken Today And Feathers Tomorrow
- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
- We're A Couple Of Misfits
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
- No Bed Of Roses
- Frosty the Snowman
- If Only Now And Then
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
|Ethel Merman||Lilly Loraine|
|Mickey Rooney||Santa Claus|
|Paul Frees|| Winterbolt|
Keeper of the Cave
|Hal Peary||Big Ben|
|Shelby Flint||Lanie Loraine|
|Don Messick|| Sam Spangles|
|Darlene Conley||Mrs. Claus|
|Nellie Bellflower||Lady Boreal|
|Robert McFadden||Santa Claus (singing)|
| Steffi Calli|
- ↑ Goldschmidt, Rick. The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass. p. 153
|Rankin/Bass Holiday Specials|